Invest in Site Coordination

A strong site coordinator is critical to a quality program. Ask the principal of each school to identify a point person to coordinate the development and implementation of the program who can lead the program with enthusiasm and commitment. While in some schools — especially small ones — this might be the principal, try to identify another staff member with a background in social work or mental health and who can support the work as part of their job. Community resources, such as AmeriCorps volunteers, can also support the site coordinator.

Typical Site Coordinator Responsibilities Include:
  • Targeting: Determine which students should be recruited for program participation to launch the program

  • Recruitment and Training: Recruit, orient and train success mentors

  • Matching: Match mentors with students

  • Support: Serve as an on-going contact and troubleshooter for mentors

  • Notification: Ensure parents are notified about the program and permission to participate is secured as needed

  • Integration: Work with school leadership to ensure that the program is supported by an effective team that oversees attendance and has strong parent engagement

  • Work with the District: Serve, along with the principal, as the point of contact for the district captain and participate in district meetings and trainings

  • Documentation and evaluation: With school leadership and the district captain, establish a means for regular access to chronic absenteeism data, and help facilitate weekly data review meetings

Sample job description for the Site Coordinator

District captains should also build the capacity of site coordinators to launch the work.

Here are Two Things Captains can do:
  • Support school action planning

    Ask site coordinators and principals to work together to develop a plan to guide start up and implementation. Encourage them to think hard about which students to prioritize for program participation and how they can recruit success mentors who will work well with those students. Schools should keep in mind that the success mentor program has been most effective for students with moderate chronic absence (missing around 10-20% of the school year) or at-risk students (missing 5-10% of school). Students with severe levels of chronic absence, missing 20% or more of the school year, are likely to require more intensive supports along with the success mentor program.

  • Convene participating schools

    Early on in the process, bring the principal and site coordinators together to review expectations as well as share their start up plans and strategies. Offer resource materials, such as the success mentor planning tool, to help the team start the program. If possible, create regular opportunities, such as monthly meetings or phone calls, for participating schools to review progress in implementing their plans, ask for help and discuss lessons learned about effective practices.